Some of the most fascinating and insightful interesting profiles here on 15 Minutes of Fame have been about players you've never heard of before: an anthropologist whose field research is inside the raiding World of Warcraft, or the couple who assembled a scale model of Booty Bay entirely out of Legos.
But we suspect that most regular WI readers will have heard at least in passing of Teza, the bleeding-edge guilds he has played with and the widely read WoW resource sites he's helped create. Teza's latest success: wowraid.com, launched in March to offer up-to-the-minute news and PvE raiding resources.
Teza's WoW pedigree is a long one. The old-school raider was a founder of Curse guild, which has split, merged and morphed its way through incarnations including SK-Gaming and now Ensidia. Today, Teza plays with still another well known raiding guild, Apex. Teza created Curse's add-ons section as a guild resource, guiding its explosive evolution into a widely used public add-ons resource. He also built WorldofRaids.com to offer hardcore raiding news and what become a leading PvE progression tracker. After helping WorldofRaids' transition to become a Curse site in 2007, Teza has created a new WoW news site, wowraid.com.
In a strange melange of English, French and Franglais/raidspeak, we visited with Teza about raiding in today's World of Warcraft, keeping up with WoW news, raiding progression and more.
Server Al'Akir-EU (English server)
15 Minutes of Fame: Teza, we understand that you were a hardcore raider way back when in EverQuest. How did you get your gaming start?
Teza: I am not sure I remember how I started EQ; it was a long time ago, 1998-1999? I think I got my first internet connection two or three months before the launch of EQ. I always liked playing console role-playing games (i.e Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Star Ocean), so when I heard about the release of the first 3-D online roleplaying game, I naturally got interested. I wish I had played Ultima Online before EQ, but I didn't. EQ was my first MMO, and I played the three following classes, Bard, Necromancer and Monk (God, I loved pulling with this class), in the top guild on my server for two years.
You spent six years with Curse and its descendents. How is Apex, your present guild, different from what has become Ensidia?
Apex has many fewer members (we have like 30 to 35 active raiders) than Ensidia and normal raid hours (19:00 to 23:00-24:00 CET on working days) during progression raids.
Are you an officer in Apex, or does working on wowraid.com take most of your time?
I am not an officer in Apex for three reasons: We already have very talented officers, I joined the guild in December '08, and I don't think I am (a good) fit for that position.
The site was launched a week ago -- so yes, wowraid is currently taking most of my time. However, I am not going to skip any raid because of that. Also, as the site staff grows bigger (already started!), I should have a bit less work on my hands.
How long did Apex take to complete Wrath content? What's the guild doing now?
It took Apex two weeks to complete Wrath content (Naxxramas, Malygos and Sartharion-3 Drakes). We are still doing Naxxramas, Malygos, Sarth-3D every week while waiting for Ulduar, and we also attended all Ulduar boss testing on PTR to get some experience.
What are the plans for Ulduar?
We will probably go for Yogg-Saron (final boss in Ulduar) the first week and start working on the hard modes the second week. We will just do as good as possible.
You played a Rogue all the way from beta until Wrath -- and now, a DK. What prompted the change?
The reason why I changed to a DK is because I wanted to start anew, from scratch, with a class that had new mechanics and no theorycraft behind it, so you have to experiment on your own and draw your own conclusions. What's more exciting than playing WotLK (new content) with a Death Knight (new class)? It doubles the "new" factor!
Tell us a little bit about what attracts you to hardcore raiding. What is it that keeps you going seven nights a week during progression periods?
Hum, well, probably for the great satisfaction that you can feel after defeating a new boss. It's like solving a difficult riddle or getting a good grade. The more you struggle to beat a boss, the greater the satisfaction is when you actually defeat him.
How do you think Wrath of the Lich King has changed things for hardcore raiders?
Hardcore raiding is no longer about just killing bosses (WoW vanilla and TBC). You now have to kill them with a few handicaps or requirements (also called hard modes, part of the new achievement system). I think Blizzard made a clever decision here. With hard modes, they can give the hardcore community something to work on while allowing the casual community to see the new content. That way, you won't end up with another Naxxramas 40-man case, where only the hardcore community was able to see it.
With the easier raids of Wrath, many players seem to believe that endgame raiding is not such a big deal anymore. You're an old school raider -- how do you think your experience playing and raiding in EQ and early WoW have influenced the way you think raiding guilds should do things?
EverQuest was much more demanding and time-consuming than WoW because of several factors: raid size, death penalty, corpse runs, longer boss fights. So when I moved to WoW raiding, it was already easier to me. I think the belief that "endgame raiding is not such a big deal anymore" started when raid size was reduced from 40- to 25-man, and I miss the original raid size, because it felt more epic and it required more work (coordination, farming, etc.) to get the job done.
Tell us about wowraid.com -- what makes it different from other WoW news sites?
The first noticeable differences are the layout and colors, which are easier on the eye than the other WoW news sites -- at least, that's what I think. In addition to news and contents, the site provides two services (we plan to add new ones in the very close future): an enhanced blue tracker and a recruitment tool.
The recruitment tool is unique to wowraid and is already popular (200 guilds+ registered during the first week). It allows guild leaders to enter their guild profile in a database, so future recruits can find their next guild by using a plethora of filters (class, spec, achievements, server type, time zone, etc.). Each guild profile has a seven-day timer before being disabled (not shown in search results). You can renew this timer whenever you want by pressing a renew button on your guild page. We made this choice to avoid inactive/outdated guild profiles.
The enhanced blue tracker ... You will tell me there are already a few trackers out there, and you are right -- but this one does the job better.
- Frequency update It checks official forums every two minutes -- so basically, when a blue poster makes a new post on forums, it will appear one to three minutes later on the blue tracker.
- Filters In addition to forum filters (PTR, General, Tanking, etc.), it has two unique wowraid filters.
- Announcements It only displays threads that were started by Blizzard posters.
- Developers It only displays threads where actual game developers posted. That means no community managers reposting information or locking threads, no quality assurance guys thanking bug reports. This is the real stuff you should always check.
- Clean and easy-to-read interface
- Embedding option This is one is mostly for new feeds. In the top right corner of each blue post, there is a quote button that gives the preformatted HTML code of that blue post, ready to be inserted into a news item on your site. The embed code consists of a block quote with a Blizzard logo hosted on wowraid, the blue poster's name, the topic subject, a link to the original source of the blue post on the official forum and the complete post. There is no watermarking or wowraid reference of any kind.
The site was launched by me and Csulok, and the design made by Yakooki (famous moviemaker who realized Blackwing Lair: the Movie, the video used at the Taiwan Tokyo Games Show by Blizzard to expand WoW in China. After our first week, our staff started increasing with a moderator (Lagspike) and a content writer (Pixel).
Can you tell us a little bit more about a typical workday?
First thing I do every day, while taking my breakfast, is reading all blue posts made by Blizzard developers. I bookmark the newsworthy ones for a daily blue. I also keep monitoring the blue tracker the whole day for Blizzard announcements.
Second, I check my e-mail and all messages sent to me via IM programs (IRC, MSN, AIM, Skype) while I was sleeping. It's thanks to that informant network that I sometimes have news ahead of other sites.
Third, I browse the WoW forums to spot the hot topics (one to two hours per day), and then I check a few WoW blogs (WoW Insider, Banana Shoulders, WowEcon, Kaliope, BRK, etc.).
Once these three things are done, I start working on my huge to-do list for wowraid (new services, contents, projects) while monitoring the three first steps.
It sounds like a full-time job!
Yes, my work with WoW-related websites is currently full-time work. It began as a hobby/volunteer work in 2004, and it became full-time work in 2007. I am lucky, because I really enjoy what I do. How many people can say they enjoy their work nowadays? Not enough.